Wednesday, December 31, 2008

FEI Clean Sport Commission Moves Ahead - Full Article

by: Edited Press Release
December 24 2008, Article # 13330

FEI Anti-Doping and Medication Commission Chair Arne Ljungqvist, MD, PhD, FEI First Vice President Sven Holmberg, and FEI Secretary General Alexander McLin met Dec. 16 to plot the way forward for the FEI Clean Sport Commission, which was recently established by the FEI General Assembly.

The subject matter to be addressed by the commission's members is vast and falls into the broad categories of policy, legislation, education, communication, prevention, evidence, prosecution, adjudication, and financing.

The commission's objective is to recommend a practical course of action aimed at establishing the best possible system to prevent the use of methods or substances that influence the performance of a competition horse, while ensuring horse welfare at all times. The recommendations should be able to be universally recognized and supported by all the stakeholders of equestrian sport, namely the athletes and their entourage, the FEI's member National Federations, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and the media as the best effort that can be made by equestrian sport's governing body to tackle the issue. The commission, which includes athletes, will examine the question of the role and responsibility of riders in all relevant subject areas. Ljungqvist is Chair of the IOC Medical Commission and Vice President of WADA.

A number of focus groups formed by commission members, selected experts, and staff, will be tasked with addressing key questions in the following areas: laboratory science, prohibited substances, rules and legal procedure, and communication and education.

The commission aims to produce its initial findings in a report to the FEI Bureau on March 31, 2009. Focus groups will meet in January with a full commission meeting scheduled for March 6.

The members of the focus groups will be announced in due course. They will start working immediately in January and February with the aim of reporting to the commission on March 6, 2009. Comments on the work in progress will only be made through FEI Headquarters.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Contagious Equine Metritis Case Could Impact Horse Transport - Full Article

by: Erin Ryder, News Editor
December 16 2008, Article # 13281

State and federal agriculture officials announced Dec. 16 that a Quarter Horse stallion standing at stud in Kentucky has tested positive for contagious equine metritis (CEM). As the United States is considered free of the highly contagious venereal infection (which can cause infertility and abortions, or can exist and spread subclinically), this raises two major issues: where did it come from, and will it affect equine transport, either interstate or internationally?

According to Rusty Ford, equine programs manager in the office of Kentucky State Veterinarian Robert Stout, DVM, the affected stallion is a 16-year-old Quarter Horse who came to a farm in Kentucky (the identity of which he cannot legally reveal) in February 2008, after being collected for breeding via artificial insemination in Texas. Twenty one other stallions, all Quarter Horses, stood at the Kentucky facility. The CEM causative organism, Taylorella equigenitalis, was discovered when the affected horse was examined prior to his semen being shipped to the European Union. All but eight of the stallions had shipped to other farms this summer, following the conclusion of the 2008 breeding season. One stallion had moved to another farm within Kentucky and the rest moved out of state.


Maintain Trailer Breakaway Systems for Safe Hauling - Full Article

by: Edited Press Release
December 17 2008, Article # 13286

Emergency breakaway systems lock trailer brakes automatically if the trailer becomes disconnected from the tow vehicle. Maintaining this equipment is an aspect of trailer maintenance you don't want to overlook, although hopefully you'll never need to use it.

"Be a good steward--don't take chances with the safety and welfare of your precious cargo," said Mark Cole, managing member for USRider, a nationwide roadside assistance program for equestrians, which provides emergency road service to its members in the continental United States, Canada, and Alaska.

To ensure your breakaway system is in good working order, USRider offers the following safety tips:


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Australian Equine Endurance - Summising Horse Welfare

Kholonial Endurance Training

By Jo Hamilton-Branigan BVSc (Endurance Vet/Rider)

In Australia the sport of endurance riding has always been under the microscope (and very accountable) as far as horse welfare issues have been concerned. In the beginning welfare authorities (RSPCA) were not convinced that this sort of riding/event could be achieved without compromising the horse. In order for the sport to be accepted and continue into the 21st century an incredibly comprehensive horse welfare system has been devised and it has continued to evolve in parallel with the nature of the sport. Australia has long been a world leader in this regard.

The Australian Endurance Riders Association (AERA) works in close association with a panel of highly experienced veterinarians (AERA Veterinary Panel – which consists of an experienced endurance veterinarian from each State). An event cannot take place without a veterinary team in control with an Accredited Endurance Veterinarian at the helm (as Head Veterinarian). Strict monitoring by veterinarians (of a number of parameters, including heart rate, respiration, temperature, demeanor, metabolic factors – particularly relating to the gastrointestinal tract and hydration, as well as gait evaluation) creates a safe environment for the horses. The Veterinary Team is in control of the ride and can disqualify a horse/rider combination at any time in the event. The Head Veterinarian oversees all decisions made by the veterinary team.

Each event generally consists of a series of phases (“legs” or “loops”). The ride base may stay stationary or it may move (“travelling" check points). A typical phase will range from about 10km to 45km – depending on the length and nature of the event. Longer events have multiple legs/phases. Generally longer phases at the start of the event and shorter as the event proceeds. At longer events horses may be checked seven or eight times during the course of an event. The horse is checked by the veterinary team between phases and judged as fit to continue or eliminated on veterinary grounds. There is a mandatory rest period between phases after the veterinary check. A horse can be eliminated at any time, even on track during the event if the track veterinarian deems it necessary. Consider also that it is not uncommon for horses to be asked to “represent” and be checked twice at the one check. These days it is usual for there to be a “compulsory represent” (double check) at a designated check.

There is a comprehensive National Logbook system now in place. Every endurance horse must be identified & registered with its State Association/AERA. They are then issued with a Logbook which must be used at endurance events. This official Logbook contains a myriad of information pertaining to the health and welfare of each horse at each event. This is a work in progress and details the ongoing successes and failures of each horse at each event – it is an historical record which can be referred to by connections, veterinarians and officials over time.


Oral Potassium for Endurance?
Susan Piscopo, DVM, PhD

Endurance riding can lead to significant losses of water and electrolytes, which can cause clinical illnesses related to increased neuromuscular excitability, including cardiac arrhythmia, muscle cramping and twitching, and gut motility changes. When plasma potassium (K+) increases--as it does with increasing exercise intensity--there is a concomitant increase in neuromuscular excitability. Yet, many endurance riders believe that oral potassium supplementation before and during competition is critical to the good health of their horses.

Researchers from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Rutgers University, Virginia Intermont College, Rectortown Equine Clinic, and the Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition in the United Kingdom evaluated whether potassium-free oral electrolytes given during endurance work could moderate the expected increase in plasma potassium, decreasing related neuromuscular side effects. They compared the effects of a potassium-free high-sodium electrolyte mixture (EM-K) to a potassium-rich mixture (EM+K) on plasma ions and acid-base status in horses during an endurance ride.

Forty-six horses entered in an 50-mile (80-km) endurance race were used for the study--24 receiving EM-K and 22 EM+K. Rest stops and veterinary inspections were conducted at 21, 37, 56, and 72 km. Electrolyte mixtures were given orally by syringe after each loop.

Seventeen horses in each group finished; the others were withdrawn for various reasons. For all horses, plasma potassium significantly increased from the ride's start to the 56-km rest stop, then significantly decreased to the end of the ride. Plasma sodium significantly increased from before the ride to 37 and 56 km, and significantly decreased from there to the end of the ride.

However, hydrogen ion (H+, a measure of acid-base status ) was found to be significantly lower in EM-K horses compared to EM+K horses. Another significant finding was that plasma potassium was significantly lower at 80 km and during recovery in EM-K horses compared to EM+K horses.

The authors concluded that the decrease in potassium and hydrogen ion in the last stage of the ride in EM-K horses might have been attributable to the absence of potassium and the increase in sodium in the EM-K formula. However, despite the differences, EM+K horses had increases in plasma hydrogen and potassium that were moderate and not likely to cause clinical neuromuscular signs. The authors conceded that the moderate nature of the ride and mild weather were likely the reason for this, as well as the reason that the significant differences between groups were not evident until the end of the ride. The EM-K mixture would therefore likely be most beneficial in faster horses working harder during more strenuous rides.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Malaysia: Dr. Nik looks ahead

Dr. Nik's Blog
Post World Endurance Championship ,Lembah Bidong Terengganu .Where do we go from here ?A million dollar question .

Let us not discuss how much WEC costs us .That is beyond mere mortals like you and me and anyway it was a monumental success from the viewpoint of Malaysians as perfect host.We always are .

From the perspective of actual performance of Team Malaysia ,OK friends ,I have promised I am not going to go over it again ,lest I will qualify myself for the firing squad .OK ,so ,where do we go from here ?

First and foremost ,let us look at Bahrain and Qatar .Forget about UAE ,since UAE is a million miles ahead ,not from just us but from the rest of the world .Some blokes in the USA are even thinking of opting out of FEI Endurance because even USA , a former superpower in Endurance a decade ago has now been reduced to the dustbin of history .


Saturday, December 13, 2008

A weird and wonderful year for horses - Full Article

December 11, 2008

by Neil Clarkson

Confucius once said that if you put people and horses together for long enough, there's bound to be trouble.

OK, it may not have been Confucius who said it, but I'm absolutely certain someone has uttered words to that effect.

Horses and people have come together in their usual crazy way during 2008 and it's time to look back at just how weird and wonderful that relationship has been.

What a year! Horses have copped the blame for everything from Madonna's divorce to providing bad press for a US presidential hopeful.

Several incidents have proven that alcohol, horses and people never mix - and it doesn't matter who is doing the drinking.


Friday, December 05, 2008

Skin pinch test an unreliable measure of dehydration - Full Article

December 6, 2008

A working horse being treated for heat stress and dehydration in Pakistan.
The standard pinch test to assess dehydration in a horse is an unreliable measure, research involving work horses in Pakistan has revealed.

Veterinarians from Bristol University and The Brooke equine welfare charity examined hydration levels in 50 working horses in Lahore during May and June 2006 at a field clinic run by The Brooke.

Dehydration is a serious welfare concern in horses working in developing countries, where they regularly work for more than eight hours a day in temperatures often exceeding 40degC.

It was hoped the study might identify a valid and practical indicator of dehydration that would enable more rapid treatment and prevention by horse owners.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Feeding Horses When Temperatures Drop - Full article

by: University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
November 30 2008

Winter presents a challenge to horse owners when it comes to feeding their horses. Low temperatures, harsh winds and rain, snow, and ice all contribute to the increasing nutrient requirements a horse has to keep themselves warm and maintain their body weight.

Here are a few feeding tips to help horse owners keep their horses happy and healthy this winter:

* Winter tends to be a time when horses lose weight, and a heavy winter coat can hide a thin horse. Make sure to check your horse's body condition every 30 days. If your horse loses weight during the winter, try increasing his body weight prior to the winter months so that he can lose some weight during the winter without becoming thin.

* Horses require additional energy from the diet to maintain body weight when temperatures drop below 45°F. Remember that pasture grasses do not grow during the colder months. Providing good quality hay at 2% of the horse's body weight should meet his nutrient requirements for maintenance. Feeding hay also generates heat during digestion by gut microbes, and that helps horses stay warm.


Monday, December 01, 2008

Karen Chaton: Musings about endurance riding awards and lifetime achievements

From Karen Chaton's Blog:

I have always thought it to be especially difficult to really compete in the West Region in the AERC. There are so many members here compared to most of the other regions, so the number of awards given to the riders here are substantially less than are given in most of the other regions by membership %. To explain further, they give top ten in each weight division, up to ten max and based on 5% of the ridership. Some regions don’t even give ten awards because they don’t have that many riders in each division. If the West Region were to be awarded the same 5% of awards based upon riders in each division, it would go well past ten in most of the divisions. This system makes it very difficult to place in the region unless you ride a lot, or ride fast. Or both.

One year I won the West Region in points for weight division and overall with Rocky and top tenned 19 of the 23 rides we completed. I couldn’t have gotten enough points without also going fast. He also got a regional best condition and a national best condition award that year. Looking back in hindsight I have always thought that this was not something that I was especially proud of because I think in the end it reduced the longevity of his endurance career. He did have a long career and made the Decade Teams and over 7600 lifetime miles, but I think had I been thinking farther ahead at the time that I may have been able to have extended it even longer. It was fun while it lasted and was probably good for me in a way to get the whole winning, top tenning, getting best condition thing out of my system.

I don’t think that there is anything wrong with always riding conservatively or slowly. You may think other riders are looking down on you but they are really just jealous :^). I have often heard comments about how something must be wrong with somebody’s horse if they are not riding fast. What a retarded way to think! Or you’ll hear a condascending remark something like “well if that’s all you want to do”, as if your goals or accomplishments are less important than somebody else’s because they are different. I think it’s great that there are so many different options and ways to approach the sport of endurance riding that we should all be respectful of what somebody else does and not judge them just because they want something different than we do for our own horses.

New point standings posted today and it turns out that it was a very odd year for the standings in the West Region. Neither Dave Rabe, nor myself either one placed in any category, regionally or otherwise. We both did miss rides for different reasons but we still did a lot of riding. I completed 20 rides and 1,020 miles. Of that, 660 of those miles were on Chief. Dave completed a lot more - 2,470 miles in 47 ride completions. He also had two horses with more than 600 miles each. Now what other region in the AERC can you do that much riding and not even get a single award?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining just pointing out that a lot of slower riders who just go for mileage are not even acknowledged. In the case of Dave and myself, we both have more jackets and awards already than we’ll ever be able to wear. Most of us don’t ride for the awards but if somebody were to set a goal of getting into the endurance/AERC standings, at least in the West region - it’s going to be a lot easier to drop to the shorter distances and do limited distance. Or you are going to have to ride a lot faster. Or go to a LOT of rides or a combination of a lot with some speed. No matter how you do it, placing in a regional award category is a big accomplishment and all of the riders placing this year deserve to be congratulated for a successful ride season!

Fortunately, the AERC also gives awards that recognize long term achievement in the sport. Riders get patches for every thousand miles ridden. I am only a couple of rides short of getting my 22nd one. I think getting the first 250 mile patch and the first 1,000 mile patches seemed to be the longest/hardest. There is such a learning curve in that first thousand miles.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Beet Pulp Shortage Continues, Could Repeat - Full Article

by: Lisa Kemp
November 14 2008, Article # 13108

Plain shredded beet pulp, a source of digestible fiber for many horses, has been hard to come by this year for a number of East Coast horse owners. Some have wondered when supplies will replenish. While a temporary supply will be available soon, the long-term outlook on beet pulp availability isn't as clear.

Burton Feed & Seed in Beaufort, S.C., received its first shipment of beet pulp in months earlier this week.

"I had a lot of trouble getting it, and I can't say for sure why," said owner Robert Bowles. "And I have three different suppliers I get regular shipments from."

Triple Crown Nutrition General Manager Eric Haydt, RAS, said seasonal and regional shortages are a larger issue endemic to the sugar beet industry.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

To Blanket or Not to Blanket? - Full Article

by: University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
November 18 2008, Article # 13124

The short answer might very well be "to blanket." However, for many horses blanketed during cooler months, that extra layer provides more comfort to their caregivers than to the animals themselves. Horses have evolved to have an excellent built-in temperature control: a very thick winter hair coat. Horses require between 10 and 21 days to acclimatize to colder temperatures. For instance, on the first day of 35° F weather, the horse might feel cold, but over 10-21 days of similar cold weather, he will "get used to it" and be more comfortable.

If temperatures drop suddenly, you will notice behavior changes, including increased use of shelters if available, huddling together in groups with other horses, and turning their hindquarters into the prevailing wind. These are all activities that help conserve heat. The shivering response will also occur in very cold horses, which generates a pretty substantial amount of body heat, helping to warm internal organs.


Friday, November 14, 2008

How Much Weight Can Your Horse Safely Carry? - Full Article

For centuries, horses have resolutely carried the burdens placed on them by humankind. Now, researchers are investigating how weight-bearing affects equine health and performance.

By Laurie Bonner

Have you hefted an average school-kid's backpack recently? Years ago, when some of us were in school, we carried maybe two or three textbooks at a time. Nowadays, however, with many schools eliminating lockers for security reasons, students often carry all of their materials, all day long. One 2004 study of 3,498 middle-school students found an average backpack weight of 10.6 pounds, with some ranging as high as 37 pounds. Not surprisingly, 64 percent of the kids said that they'd experienced back pain, which correlated directly to the amount they carried. That is, the more the backpack weighed, the greater the likelihood the student would report pain.

In response, several health organizations advise that student backpack weight be limited--the American Chiropractic Association suggests that kids carry no more than 10 percent of their body weight, and the American Occupational Therapy Association recommends 15 percent. If equivalent guidelines were adopted in the equestrian world, the loads placed on a 1,000-pound horse would be restricted to 100 to 150 pounds.

Of course, horses routinely bear far heavier burdens without apparent difficulty. But that doesn't mean that there's no cost...


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Forgotten Heroes the 20,000 mile horse trek across the US

October 17, 2008

This article was first published in the United States by Western Horseman magazine and is based on original research done by the Long Riders' Guild Academic Foundation. For more information, please visit their websites:,, or

The setting of a new record for mileage in competitive trail-riding by 37-year-old Elmer Bandit is a remarkable effort. CuChullaine O'Reilly delves back nearly 100 years to describe another astonishing feat of equine endurance.

In 1912, four riders embarked on a 20,000 mile cross-country trip they hoped would bring them fortune and fame. One magnificent horse made their dream a reality.

It was called the ride of the century, a 20,000-mile, three-year odyssey through desert, mountain, and swamp that four young horsemen dreamed would make them famous.

Instead, they rode into oblivion.

The year was 1912, and as George Beck, part-time Washington logger, sometimes visionary, and full-time horseman explained to his three closest companions, fame and fortune lay in the saddle, not with the axe.

"Logging is a lousy business," he said. "We're lucky if we work 6 months a year. In the meantime, there's a World's Fair, the Panama Pacific International Exposition, comin' up in San Francisco in 1915. The gold is there. We have the nags and gear. Let's ride to every state capital in the Union. Let's make the longest horse ride on record and get ourselves a reputation. We'll win fame. We'll write an adventure book. We'll put on a show on the midway at the Exposition. There's a pot of gold out there and we'll find it," Beck assured his friends.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Older Horses Might Not be Ready to Retire

by: University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine
October 30 2008

"Old Billy," an English draft horse, was the longest living horse when he died at age 62, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Although most horse owners know their hoofed friends probably will not make it into the record books for longevity, geriatric horses can live a happy and fulfilling life.

Jill Eyles, DVM, is an equine surgery intern at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in Urbana. "I would consider most horses geriatric by 20," she said.

"Old" is a relative term depending upon the use of the horse. For example, racehorses are old by age five or six, but for a hunter-jumper that is still young.

Just as with humans, there is no age at which retirement should be mandatory.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Eco-Friendly Farm - Full Article

by: Stephanie L. Church, Copy/Features Editor
July 01 2008, Article # 12425

Go green with your farm to make your horses healthier, the environment cleaner, and even improve the neighbors' opinion of your place.

There's a lot of buzz about "going green" these days. From installing energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs to carrying reusable grocery bags, we've made steps in our households toward impacting the environment less and improving the global climate. Managing horses is generally not forgiving to the environment (visualize brownish streams coming down the hillside from the manure pile in the rain, and fly spray chemicals rinsing down the wash stall drain). In this article we offer ways we can adjust our management to be more environmentally friendly.

Water Quality

Alayne Blickle, program director for Horses for Clean Water, says reducing nonpoint source pollution should be horse owners' first goal when they go green. Nonpoint source pollution is caused by runoff during rainfall or snowmelt that picks up and carries away natural (urine and manure, for example) and human-made (i.e., pesticides) pollutants, depositing them into natural bodies of water and ground water.

"The bottom line is protecting water quality," she says.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Feeding High-Performance Horses - Full Article

by: Sharon Biggs
April 01 2007, Article # 9307

Sometimes the difference between winning and losing is only a fraction of a second. High-performance equine trainers are well aware of this little margin, and as a result, they are always trying to find that one thing that will help their horses increase their speed. But this is not always an easy endeavor.

Brian Nielsen, PhD, PAS, Dipl. ACAN, professor and researcher in equine exercise physiology and nutrition at Michigan State University, says that you can never improve on an animal's genetic potential, but you can hope to maximize it. One way to do that is with nutrition.

"It's important to have enough calories in the fast athlete because it gives him that cutting edge," he says. "You're typically not going to lose a race because the protein wasn't exactly right or the vitamins or minerals weren't exactly right, but calories can really impact the result because they fine-tune a performance. Inadequate energy intake can quickly result in an animal that fatigues prematurely and fails to perform at its top potential."


Saturday, October 25, 2008

The long awaited custom Skito pad has arrived!

My lovely Skito has arrived... The pad is shaped like my saddle, with just enough extra to keep the underfleece from getting dirty. It has the little tie strings to attach it to your saddle to hold in place, and loops for my billets to go through. The underside is soft real wool, the topside is black duck fabric. There is no padding under the flaps for better contact, and 1/2 dense foam panels on both sides of the spine to give the saddle a little lift. It is a very nice saddle pad. This is my third Skito pad.

[More ...]

Friday, October 24, 2008

Preventing Equine Ulcers, Info for Endurance Riders - Karen Chaton


In layman’s terms

by Karen Chaton

August 2005


There is one thing about the topic of equine gastric ulcers that I am clear on – the more I learn about it, the more I realize we don’t know. Most of the studies that have been done have been to show the effectiveness of omeprazole, an effective drug for curing and preventing ulcers. For a horse with severe ulcers, omeprazole does work extremely well and should be used as a treatment. However, there are downsides; daily treatment with omeprazole is not only costly, but there are a lot of other questions that arise with its use, such as whether or not a horse receiving omeprazole daily is in violation of the AERC Drug Policy if you stop giving it within 24 hours of a ride.

Omeprazole works by stopping stomach acid – an important function of the stomach that aids in destroying bacteria that could cause intestinal tract infections such as salmonella. The altered pH of the stomach may not kill viruses and fungi. Stomach acid is necessary to digest protein. The undigested protein moves thru the cecum and large bowel, where fermentation can cause bloating, discomfort and foul smelling manure. Prolonged acid suppression in humans causes vitamin B12 mal-absorption. Further human studies have shown an increase in acid production following treatment. Omeprazole has been shown to significantly delay gastric emptying in humans, and there are several other potentially serious side effects that have been documented in humans, rats, and dogs (1). Long-term use in rats has shown thickening of the stomach lining which may or may not predispose for gastric cancer.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Physiological Basis for Intravenous fluids following travel in horses.

James Bryant DVM, Diplomate ACVS

In the sport of endurance there is some controversy surrounding the pre-ride use of intravenous fluids. I think it is very important to define the purpose of the fluids because there are both appropriate and inappropriate uses of fluids. First, the use of intravenous fluids as a pre-race supplement has remained and should remain controversial for years. The use of so-called jugs (IV fluids and vitamins and electrolytes) once a staple on the race track and through the recent years while still performed by some the physiologic benefits have been proven to be less and less important. In addition the kidneys are designed to remove excessive fluid from the body, therefore if you give fluids to a well hydrated horse they are likely to urinate the extra and therefore not expand the pre-race blood volume. Therefore unless you are starting a ride with a dehydrated horse (which none of us would ever advocate) the benefit of fluids in the 24 hours prior to a ride is likely non-existent.

Second, the use of intravenous fluids following travel seems to have some controversy around it which I find as completely inappropriate. When people travel long distances in planes it is recommended that you drink plenty of fluids (water) and when you arrive at your destination continue do so for the first 24 hours. We all know that after long travels we feel tired, dehydrated, run down and take 1 to 3 days to feel like ourselves again. To assume that horses are somehow different and have no ill effects systemically with travel makes no sense. When blood work is performed on horses that have traveled wether 10 hours or more by trailer and/or over 6 hours by plane we find that over 80% of the horses have an elevation in there PCV (packed cell volume) and TP (Total protein) these values are indicators of the amount of fluid (water) in the blood stream. These elevations are consistently above the well above the normal for the individual horse and some times very elevated consistent with sever dehydration. Therefore the overall effect of the travel results in some form of dehydration even with access to water throughout the trip.

In particular to endurance horses that travel long distances by ground or plane we have great concern over starting an event (or even training) a horse that is dehydrated. We know for a fact that on a 100 mile ride an endurance horse can be expected to lose at least 3 to 5% of its body weight in water during the event by the finish. Horse that are in metabolic trouble can lose over 10% and can be in severe danger of colic, exhaustion, dehydration, laminitis and even death. From past experiences we have learned t (sometimes the hard way) that horses can tie-up after long travel. Part of what occurs here is the dehydration from travel has contributed to a lower blood volume and therefore the muscles are not perfused as well and basically starve of oxygen in the first or second workout and then these cells die and release the muscles enzymes and you have a tied up horse. In addition if they tie-up and are dehydrated now you have created an environment that the kidneys can fail from the lack of fluid and large accumulation of the myoglobin from the muscle breakdown. In this scenario not only will the horse not be able to compete but may die from the renal failure. More commonly however the question is can the horse recover in time to compete or do they compete but compete poorly due to the subsequent issues. When you travel with your horse long distance to an important race you want to have them in peak form with no lingering issues from travel.

Lastly, how is it best to rehydrate a horse after travel. Consider three possibilities, 1) Let them drink and feed food that is as wet as possible with as much water as they will eat. In this scenario I would also recommend blood work to ascertain if the PCV and TP are back to normal and would not exercise the horse until they are normalized. 2) Use oral fluids given through an nasogastric tube. This is an appropriate way to administer fluids, however water absorption from the GI tract may be slowed in the first 24 hours due to ileus (slowing of gut motility) from travel and may require 1 to 2 days of administration. 3) Intravenous fluids are a direct way to restore vascular volume. Typically volumes of 10 to 20 liters of physiologic fluid (saline) are recommended for horses that are 3 to 5% dehydrated. The body is a very powerful tool and will eliminate the excessive fluid when appropriate and distribute what is needed to the body. Blood work is extremely helpful to assess the effects of the IV fluids and to decide how much is needed. In addition the color and volume of urine can assist in gauging the needed volumes.

In the horses traveling to Malaysia for the World Endurance Championships it was deemed of the utmost importance of the veterinary staff and Chef d’quipe that the horses be as metabolically stable as possible from the travel and as ready for training and acclimation to the hot and humid environment. We have been rewarded by our forward thinking with blood work upon arrival in Malaysia that indicated that 3 of the 6 horses were moderately dehydrated (33% elevation from there normal PCV) and 3 of the 6 were mildly dehydrated (10 to 12 %). The day after the second leg of there flight the horses clinically appear well hydrated and blood work revealed a return to normal ranges. The horses continue to walk at this point but they are physiologically prepared to train now rather than 1 week from now with limited time for preparation.

To assume that horses that travel over 24 hours in a plane plus 6 hours of time in the pallet prior to loading and unloading are prepared to bounce back and perform at their best quickly does not consider what the effect of the same travel would be to us. In addition we are not here to just compete we are here to show how good our horses and riders are to the rest of the world. Not taking advantage of all the things we as professional veterinarian (or better yet sports medicine clinicians) have to offer in preparing for such an event at the peak performance of the athlete is like saying we are traveling to lose. Remember we are asking these wonderful equine athletes to perform at the very edge of maximum exercise, if we can why should we not help them be at their best physiologically. We owe that much to them.

Endurance Flying?
Small bird leaves scientists gobsmacked
By MICHAEL FIELD - Fairfax Media | Thursday, 23 October 2008

Scientists are marvelling over a small female bar-tailed godwit somewhere in New Zealand who has a world record for non-stop flying – an epic 11,200 kilometres.

A major international study into the birds has been published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B and it offers an explanation as to why the godwits fly so far from Alaska to New Zealand in a single bound.

The birds flew non-stop for up to and covered more than 11,200km. The flight path shows the birds did not feed en route and would be unlikely to sleep.

The study, which involved scientists from around the world, electronically tagged godwits and tracked them, both from New Zealand to Alaska, via Asia and, more recently, from Alaska back to New Zealaqnd direct.

One of the birds, a female called E7, set the record of flying the furthest in eight days across the Pacific.

"These extraordinary non-stop flights establish new extremes for avian flight performance and have profound implications for understanding the physiological capabilities of vertebrates," the report said.

The international media have hailed the achievement.

In Britain’s Guardian quoted Theunis Piersma, a biologist at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands.

"There is something special going on here. For a vertebrate this kind of endurance is just extraordinary."

Piersma said the birds would have flapped their wings non-stop for the entire journey, and that the resulting energy requirement was the greatest in the animal kingdom.

The birds would have gobbled up energy at some eight times their resting basic metabolic rate (BMR) during their week-long exertion, he said.

Professional cyclists an only manage about five times BMR for a few hours.

"Lance Armstrong would be no competition for these birds," he said.

The Washington Post quoted Robert F Gill, a biologist with the US Geological Survey, who headed the study.

"The human species doesn't work at these levels. So you just have to sit back in awe of it all," he said.

Said Kimberly A. Hammond, a physiological ecologist at the University of California: "What this suggests to me is that we haven't yet mined the depths, we really don't know what the extremes are."

The nonstop, over-water route is free of predators and substantially shorter than a hop-scotching route down the eastern coast of Asia, which is the alternative.

Landing and eating would expose the birds to disease and parasites when they are probably somewhat immune-suppressed.

Flying non stop – north to south – across the Pacific was the safest thing to do.

The death rate during the migration is unknown but presumably low, as the population of bar-tailed godwits, estimated at 100,000, has been stable and long-lasting.

"This system would not have perpetuated itself if mortality were a big problem," said Gill

The Post said a major mystery is how high the birds fly.

Gill said that since word of his research has spread, researchers on boats in the Pacific have told him of seeing godwits 1000 metres high and "smoking by at deck level."

Friday, September 05, 2008

Some Aspects of Feeding the Endurance Horse

An article from Per Spangfors of Forskning, Sweden

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Horse and a Poorly Fitted Saddle


Thursday, August 28, 2008

This week on Horse Master is one of my favorite episodes that we have filmed so far. It’s about an Arab trail/endurance horse that we thought had some training issues. In fact, we thought the episode would be about bucking at the canter—and that he did. But it became clear right away as I watched the horse try to canter around the arena that we were dealing with a physical issue. In fact, a very poorly fitted saddle.

The horse was rushing at all gaits, crow hopping and breaking gait at the canter and throwing his head high and travelling in a very inverted frame. She had owned the horse and ridden him in this saddle with these problems for four years. For that reason, I didn’t expect an immediate cure on this horse. I figured even if we got him in a comfortable saddle, we would see some improvement but his memories and habitual behavior would persist.

I put my Circle Y Flex2 Reiner on him...


England: Second-career recognition for re-schooled racehorses

Farmers Guardian
Equestrian | 29 August, 2008

DO you have an ex-racehorse doing well in a second career? There is still time to register for the South Essex Insurance Brokers Racehorse to Riding Horse Performance Awards and get your horse's achievements recognised.

The awards are presented at the star-studded British Breeding Breeders Awards Dinner.

Registration is free, and all you need to do is collect points as you go along and then submit your competition card to SEIB.

Horses competing at all levels are eligible, and there are sections for affiliated eventing, showjumping, dressage, endurance and showing, and an unaffiliated section for those competing in various unaffiliated disciplines.

The Racehorse to Riding Horse Performance Awards were instigated to support the retraining of racehorses, and to provide a platform to show how a correctly re-schooled ex-racehorse can be successful in a new career. Thousands of horses come out of training each year and their futures can be bright - with time and patience, they can go on to compete successfully in many different disciplines.

The competition is open to thoroughbreds that have been in training but now successfully compete at an affiliated or unaffiliated level. In the affiliated section, awards are given for four disciplines: showing, dressage, show jumping, eventing and endurance. These points are collected throughout the 2008 competition season.

Similarly, for those competing at an unaffiliated level such as in local shows, riding club events or hunter trials, an award is presented to the ex-racehorse with the highest number of points in the Combined Discipline section.

Those with the highest number of points in each section will be invited to the awards dinner in London during January next year, to be presented with their prize.

Competition Cards should be submitted to Racehorse To Riding Horse Performance Awards, SEIB, South Essex House, North Road, South Ockendon, Essex, RM15 5BE.

More information

Visit www.racehorse2riding for more on SEIB's Racehorse to Riding Horse Performance Awards.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Guide to dehydration and electrolyte use in horses

Original Article:

Horses and humans use the same strategies for keeping cool, but there the similarities end.

Horses are nowhere near as efficient as people in staying cool. It's all because of their body shape and their much greater percentage of heat-generating muscle.

The difference is most apparent in hot and humid conditions, when a horse's rate of heat build-up will be about three and a half times greater than that of a human.

"For us as caregivers to horses, it is critically important to recognise these very high rates of heat storage," says Dr Michael Lindinger, from the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Science at the University of Guelph, in Ontario, Canada.

"Even though we may perceive that warm, humid conditions are not producing undue stress or strain in us, they may certainly be resulting in strain in horses," he says.

The higher rates of heat storage in horses result from a greater proportion of contracting muscle in horses - some 40% of body mass - compared to about 20% in running humans.

Also, horses have a lower skin surface in relation to their size than people, meaning their ability to dissipate heat is greatly reduced compared to humans. Horses have only 40% of the surface area to body mass as people do.

"Horses are capable of producing large amounts of heat at high rates but, compared to humans, are a severe physical disadvantage in dissipating that heat."

Lindinger, whose particular interests lie in the regulation of ion transport across cell membranes and the regulation of body fluid balance, was amongst speakers at the fourth European Equine Health and Nutrition Congress in the Netherlands, where he talked about challenges faced by performance horses in staying cool.

[More ...]

Monday, August 25, 2008 : Guide to dehydration and electrolyte use in horses

Horses and humans use the same strategies for keeping cool, but there the similarities end.

Horses are nowhere near as efficient as people in staying cool. It's all because of their body shape and their much greater percentage of heat-generating muscle.

The difference is most apparent in hot and humid conditions, when a horse's rate of heat build-up will be about three and a half times greater than that of a human.

"For us as caregivers to horses, it is critically important to recognise these very high rates of heat storage," says Dr Michael Lindinger, from the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Science at the University of Guelph, in Ontario, Canada.

"Even though we may perceive that warm, humid conditions are not producing undue stress or strain in us, they may certainly be resulting in strain in horses," he says.

The higher rates of heat storage in horses result from a greater proportion of contracting muscle in horses - some 40% of body mass - compared to about 20% in running humans.

Also, horses have a lower skin surface in relation to their size than people, meaning their ability to dissipate heat is greatly reduced compared to humans. Horses have only 40% of the surface area to body mass as people do.

...full article,

Vetting the Tevis - by Karen Phillips

Wendell Robie's horse
being checked by Dr. Bob Bushnell
at Robinson Flat checkpoint.
1958. Photo by Charles Barieau.
Shannon Weil Collection.

Pictured left to right: Dr. Don Jasper;
Wendell Robie; William Tevis;
Randy Steffen; Dr. Bob Goulding.
1959. Courtesy of Dr. Murray Fowler.

Pictured in foreground: Dr. Bob
Goulding. Dr. Bob Bushnell with
stethescope. At left: Paige Harper.
1962. Photo by Charles Barieau.
Courtesy of Kate Riordan.

Pictured left to right: Al Fogo M.D.,
secretary to Dr. Barsaleau; Dr.
Richard Barsaleau; Dr. Bob Goulding;
Randy Steffen. Circa 1963.
Photo by Charles Barieau.
Courtesy of Hal Hall.

Pictured left to right: Dr. Bob
Bushnell; Dr. Bob Goulding; Dr.
Fowler; Dr. George Cardinet III; Paige
Harper, receiving the first Haggin Cup
Trophy; unknown individual; Dr. Dick
Chance. 1964. Photo by Charles Barieau.
Shannon Weil Collection.

Dr. Jim Edwards examines Rufus,
ridden by Penny Scribner, at Michigan
Bluff. circa 1980. Photo courtesy
of Penny Scribner.

Current Head Vet Dr. Greg Fellers
takes a break with Head Vet Secretary
Judy Hall. 2007. Photo courtesy
of Penny Scribner.

Dr. Greg Fellers, Head Vet,
examines horse while Judy Hall,
Head Vet secretary, makes notes
on rider card at Robinson Flat
checkpoint. 2007. Photo courtesy
of Penny Scribner.

Example of old rider card.
Note the comment at the top about
"old splint." The card uses a
combination of AAEP (American
Association of Equine Practitioners)
number system for lameness evaluation
(1 = very slight, almost imperceptible;
5 = non-weight bearing). All the other
parameters are on a letter graded
system (Hyd = hydration; Gut = gut
sounds; CR = capillary refill).
Shannon Weil Collection.

Example of new rider card.
Courtesy of Hal Hall.

A brief history of the use of veterinarians for the
Western States Trail Ride, 100 Miles 1 Day

The Western States Trail Ride, 100 Miles One Day, begins just south of Truckee and continues to the fairgrounds in Auburn. Today the ride is more commonly known as "The Tevis," after the Tevis Cup, which is awarded to the first horse and rider to finish. This annual, international, event was founded in 1955 by Wendell Robie, local businessman, avid horseman, and innovator. At that time the ride was an unknown quantity. "When we started there were no rules or criteria to go by," Wendell remembers. "They were developed as we went along."*1 From the beginning he insisted on using veterinarians. In 1956 three vets were used (compared to 17 staffed in 2007); Dr. Wheat and Dr. Kitchen of UC Davis, and Dr. Bullock of Auburn. The rules section of the 1957 welcome letter to ride starters, regarding vet exams, states "there is no chance of cruelty to tired horses with their inspection."

Dr. Robert Bushnell, a nephew of Robie, remembers the first year he vetted the Tevis in 1958 with 35 riders (compared to over 200 currently). "I remember it was just the two of us, me and Dr. Bill Lewis of Auburn," he says. "Lewis was a laid back kind of guy. We traveled to each checkpoint in an old jeep with a fishing pole sticking out the back. Lewis wanted to stop at every fishing hole. We really had to hustle."

In 1959 Dr. Murray Fowler became the chief veterinarian. He served as chairman of the veterinary examining committee for 15 years.*2 One year during Fowler's tenure, Drucilla Barner, Robie's secretary and the first woman to win the Tevis Cup, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It was her last ride and her horse came up lame. Robie begged Fowler to let her finish. Robie told him, "I'll carry the horse if I have to." But Fowler couldn't do it. After all, he had helped develop the stringent vetting standards that Robie himself approved.

In 1961 Dr. Richard Barsaleau started vetting the ride and remembers a pivotal moment when he pulled Robie's horse for lameness. Robie was not pleased, but later walked up to Barsaleau, punched him in the arm, and said, "You were right." At the request of Mr. Robie, Dr. Barsaleau became chairman of the judging committee the next year and alternated in this head veterinarian’s role with Dr. Fowler for the next several years.*3

With experience, vets learned to be more objective in their analysis during post-ride examination. The awareness of the signs of an impending crisis improved due to the sheer number of horses examined on the ride. "We saw all gradations of fitness," the now 82-year-old Barsaleau says. The Haggin Cup Award was established for the best-conditioned horse of the first 10 finishing horses. Barsaleau was instrumental in making changes to the parameters of the award based on his philosophy that "the horse should be used, but not used up."

Dr. Todd Nelson, head vet in the 80's and early 90's, instituted changes to the number of one-hour-hold checkpoints (originally three and now two), the location of some checkpoints, and how horses are timed in. Moving the Devils Thumb checkpoint to Deadwood allows horses a mile to recover from the grueling series of switchbacks in the canyon they just climbed out of. A "gate-to-hold" was instituted where horses rest for one hour after their pulse has dropped to near normal. In earlier years riders could gallop their horses into a vet hold knowing they could use the horse's rest time to meet the pulse criteria, or "gate." These changes benefit the horse and encourage more responsible riding.

A shift in perspective occurred when vets judging the ride actually rode the Tevis. That experience became a valuable insight into the future of the event and the safety of both horse and human. Fowler was the first vet working the Tevis who entered the ride. Soon after, Barsaleau participated, completing 14 out of 16 starts. However, not all vets were eager to enter the ride. Dr. Jim Edwards, the longest acting vet on the vet committee, says that he and Nelson "were going to get a couple mules and ride it, but we made a pact that we’d call each other and talk until the feeling passed." According to Dr. Greg Fellers, head vet since 2005, "Sitting in the saddle for 24 hours is not my idea of a good time." Dr. Jamie Kerr, head vet from the late 90's until 2005, asked Fellers to take over as head vet, temporarily, so he could ride the Tevis. Kerr graciously bequeathed his title to Fellers as he continues to alternate between riding and vetting the Tevis each year.

Over the years the relationship between vet and rider changed, according to Penny Scribner, six-time Tevis finisher. "The first time I rode, vets strictly enforced rigid rules with little discussion with the rider or even with another vet," Scribner tells me. She attributes part of the change to Fellers. "The vets work with management and riders much more now instead of just showing up and acting as policemen," says Fellers. "There can be an adversarial relationship between vets and riders if you allow it, but it can be a win-win situation."

Fellers has seen riders often unwilling to see lameness in their horses even when it is obvious. The decision to pull a horse is a serious one and the rule has always been that a minimum of two vets consult on the matter. The main mode of communication between the vets is the rider's card. "As you can imagine on a 100 mile course," Fellers says, "we get strung along from hell and back." The cards pass along little "alerts." The rider's card has been reformatted for easier recording and communication.

One of the biggest changes, made recently, was to put in place exit exams at the two existing one-hour-hold checkpoints located at Robinson Flat and Foresthill. "We were letting horses back on the trail that might have needed another look," says Fellers.

Fellers has seen a "paradigm shift" while vetting the Tevis. "The level of care we can provide now is far better than, say, 10 years ago. I would dare to say that the Tevis is at the very forefront - in the field - in the level of care of horses that need treatment."

One of the main reasons for treating a horse is dehydration. "Some horses arrive ... dehydrated," Edwards points out. "They're already behind the eight-ball. They really need a day to get over the trailer ride." The challenge and working with his colleagues keeps Edwards coming back to the Tevis. "This is what it's all about. Looking at a fit horse ... and spotting something before a rider can even feel it," he says. "The Tevis is the ultimate. It's the oldest race and the toughest. It gets in your blood."

1. The Tevis Cup by Verne R. Albright
2. Murray, Hummingbirds to Elephants and Other Tales, Autobiography of Murray E. Fowler, DVM
3. Endurance Ride Judging - How It All Began by Dr. Barsaleau, 2004 Tevis Forum

Author’s note: The history of vetting the Tevis has played a key role in the study of the horse under stress. The veterinarians mentioned here are only a small fraction of the many notable doctors who have included vetting the Tevis as part of their legacy in veterinary sciences. Much has changed since the Tevis started in 1955, but one thing has remained the same—the commitment of vets to keeping the horse healthy and safe.

For more information on the Tevis, visit

Thursday, August 21, 2008

New and improved test for West Nile virus in horses

August 21, 2008

A new test for West Nile virus in horses that could be modified for use on humans and wildlife may help track the spread of the disease, according to an article in the September issue of the Journal of Medical Microbiology.

West Nile virus infects a wide range of animals, including humans, horses, dogs, cats, bats, squirrels, rabbits and birds.

It is widely distributed in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. It was first reported in North America in 1999, when there were human fatalities in New York City.

Since its arrival in the US it has spread rapidly across the continent. The virus sometimes causes swelling of the brain, or encephalitis, which can be fatal.

It is transmitted by several species of mosquito. Because the mosquitoes feed on so many different creatures the virus spreads quickly in areas where it has been introduced.

"Thousands of cases of West Nile virus have been reported worldwide, but 80% of infected people don't show any symptoms," said Dr Louis A Magnarelli, Director of The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in the US.

"It is important to have highly sensitive and specific tests to diagnose infections and also to help track the ecology and epidemiology of West Nile encephalitis."

The US researchers have found that a new test designed to detect antibodies produced by horses is highly effective at diagnosing West Nile virus infections. Compared to the standard test for West Nile virus, the new test is much faster and gives accurate results. It was also useful in confirming past infections.

"Although the methods developed are for diagnosing West Nile virus in horses, the procedures can be easily modified to develop new antibody tests for humans and wildlife," said Dr Magnarelli.

"It is essential to test wildlife for infection to determine the ecological and epidemiological aspects of West Nile virus infections in nature so that we can try to control the disease by managing mosquito populations."

Diagnosing West Nile encephalitis in ill horses helps to identify areas where the virus is spreading and to make decisions about vaccinating horses. Laboratory diagnosis can also clarify the cause of undiagnosed neurological disorders.

"We tested 43 privately owned horses for the infection. The results showed that none of the horses with undiagnosed illnesses had been infected prior to the 1999 outbreak of West Nile virus in Connecticut, USA," said Dr Magnarelli.

"This kind of information is useful in confirming the epidemiology of the virus; determining when it arrived in certain areas and how it spreads."

Full Article

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Church of the Hoof

Lynne White

It’s been an interesting read, this shoe vs. barefoot theme. One truth about endurance is that since it’s a whole horse sport there is always something to learn about and obsess over. I think I’ve mastered the mechanics of the equine gut so I suppose now it’s time to start turning the pages of the equine foot.

I’ve been a shoe fan for years without really knowing why. I always just thought that horses needed shoes and to be frank, it’s easy to just nail shoes on and forget about it. I never had much of a problem with shoes and didn’t give it much thought. I didn’t think about the mechanics of lower leg movement, the force a horse exerts on the front end, the stresses and strains of tendons, or coffin bones or any of that soundness stuff. I never had a problem with it so I just didn’t worry about it. I was a default member of the “Shod Denomination.”

Then I watched this old silent 1925 documentary called “Grass” in which the nomadic Bakhtiari people in Southwest Iran migrate over the Zagros mountains twice a year to get to their grazing grounds…on unshod horses. Now that is some serious-ass-rocky-country. Their trip makes the Tevis look like a walk in the park (I think it’s still done, but most the people have moved on to the oil fields). I also have a couple photos from the 1920’s of Kurds riding their unshod horses on some pretty rough looking country. The Turkmen did some incredible things with their unshod Akhal-Tekes. The Cossacks did some major ass-whooping with their unshod horses, and it’s because their horses were unshod that they were able to defeat Napoleon’s shod cavalry during the winter months. Genghis Kahn almost conquered the world with unshod horses. Shoes obviously had their place in warfare, but they were no guarantee that battles would be won. The succcess
of a cavalry all boiled down to how the horses were kept and managed for the climate and type of warfare.

Back off that tangent on on to the subject: What furthered my “enlightenment” was that suddenly my mare developed this rather violent aversion to having nails driven in her rear left foot. She had to be sedated to be shod...and I mean almost falling over sedated. So shoeing became a stressful endeavor of coordinating a vet and a farrier to come to my place simultaneously. It was at this time I started seeing shoeless horses at rides and heard all sorts of miraculous stories about unshod horses from the “Barefoot Denomination.”

This whole debate of the shod vs. barefoot reminds me so much of differing interpretations of the Bible. Anyone that has spent any amount of time in an evangelical church can totally relate to this. It’s just about as emotional. The only difference is the opinion concerning who is going to Hell and whose horse is going lame.

But what it all this has done is resulted in people doing their own research and learning about the huge myriad of variables involved in hoof care. Yes, I am planning on the shoeless route with my mare because she has feet like steel and I live in a pretty arid climate. I’m a mile chaser so placement isn’t a big deal to me. If I need to go slow I go slow. I’ve still got a lot to learn about hoof balance and the mechanics of soundness. But I think we are on the right course. I don’t know if my colt will need shoes or not, but when we get there at least I will have done my homework and will be able to make a pretty sound decision (pardon the pun). I plan on being a member of the “Hoof Health Denomination.” It should be a pretty lively place to be with lots of arguing, and back and forth with everything being subject to question. But we’ll learn a lot I think.


Navigating Changing Times

August 19, 2008

Back Country Horsemen of Washington Illustrate Success

Graham WA: This quote from Back Country Horsemen of Washington (BCHW) President Bob Gish hints at the winding road this 3,500 member organization has had to traverse in order to fulfill its mission of securing the recreational use of horses and mules on public lands. Mr. Gish outlined some of this journey, as well as several major accomplishments his organization has secured, at BCHW's Annual Meeting.

As any BCHA chapter member knows, volunteering to help with the maintenance, repair, and establishment of trails and equestrian faculties on public lands is critical to the continuation of stock use in the back country. Not only does volunteer work fill a void left by many a stretched state or federal budget, "research indicates that volunteering adds to the overall economic output of a community, helps build cohesive communities, and fosters trust between citizens," adds Mr. Gish. Hearing the call, BCHW members have consistently increased their organization's annual number of volunteer hours from almost 28,000 in 2002 to just over 63,000 in 2007, the equivalent of a $1.462 million donation to Washington's public lands. Although a sizable amount, BCHW leaders warn that the tallied hours are a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of work still needed to be done in Washington's National Forests, and members stand ready to clock even more hours in 2008 and beyond.

BCHW has also been hard at work building partnerships and promoting the horseback riding community as responsible stewards of the land with other pro-recreational use groups as well as local, state, and federal land managers and elected officials. With increasing demands on Washington's public lands from other user groups, BCHW leaders view these collaborations as vital to continued equestrian access. "Remember the saying - the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Only with reciprocal relationships and coordination will we be able to target and manage our resources effectively," said Gish. To this end, the organization's Public Lands Committee has worked with motorized and non-motorized user groups to plan relevant breakout sessions for the Washington State Trails Coalition annual meeting, successfully negotiated wording with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife that raised the number of persons gathered in a group requiring a commerce permit from 5 to 30, and has encouraged local chapters to assist the Forest Service in controlling the spread of invasive weed species on public lands.

BCHW has also been highly successful on another front in its mission to keep public lands open to equestrian use - legislation. "Our organization has had to broaden its scope out of necessity to include less familiar territory because our mission is under siege," Mr. Gish warned members several years ago. "BCHW must shift to encompass expertise in policy and lawmaking to counter rules and policies that would restrict access to public land by stock users just as effectively as if a trail was closed by a downed tree and no one was chainsaw certified." His message was taken to heart, and in 2007 BCHW accomplished a remarkable achievement by claiming a hard-fought victory in passing Washington's Right-to-Ride legislation. It was the first time that any BCHA organization successfully introduced and had legislation passed to protect equestrians' right to ride.

Today, BCHW continues along the many avenues it has forged in its quest to protect access for horse and mules riders on Washington's public lands. Volunteers continue their hard work in the back country, new affiliations with non-equestrian groups are being sought out, and advocacy in the marble halls of state and federal legislatures carries on. "We (BCHW) can be very proud of what we have accomplished, and I hope that we remain filled with enthusiasm for what is in store for our future as BCHW undertakes to navigate the changing times in which we live, work, and play," said Mr. Gish as he summed up his organization's many achievements while looking ahead to future success.

Back Country Horsemen of Washington is a state organization of Back Country Horsemen of America, a 13,000 member national organization that promotes recreational stock use on public lands. To learn more, please go to or telephone 888-893-5161.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sweet feed can make young horses naughty, says study - Full Article

August 19, 2008

Young horses may be easier to train if they temporarily lay off the sweet feed, according to Montana State University (MSU) researchers.

A commercial mixture of corn, oats, barley and molasses - sometimes called "sweet grain" or "sweet feed" - gives horses the glossy coat and lively spirit that makes them attractive to prospective buyers, said Jan Bowman, an animal nutritionist at MSU.

But the extra energy provided by sweet grain during the early stages of training made horses in an MSU study more disobedient and fearful than horses who ate only hay, Bowman said.

The grain-eaters spent more time resisting the saddle...


Friday, August 15, 2008

Snake Bite Preparedness - Full Article

by: Edward D. Voss, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM
October 01 2005, Article # 6165

Q: Our area has a healthy population of rattlesnakes. We spend six to 10 hours a week on trails where we have seen snakes. I would like to be prepared in the event one of our horses gets bitten. What are the procedures and supplies we should have on hand? Pat

A: When on excursions into areas frequented by pit vipers (also called crotalids, including rattlesnakes), it is prudent to consider some basic precepts concerning bites. Approximately 20-60% of bites are "dry" or defensive type of bites with little or no venom injected by the snake. These are bites that do not swell much within 10 to 15 minutes of being bitten and are not overly painful. It is difficult to ascertain whether a bite is dry, so assume envenomation (injection of venom) and proceed to obtain veterinary care. Rapid swelling and pain suggest venom injection. Venom has a Super Glue-like consistency and is absorbed rapidly from the bite site within 30 seconds to several minutes. Cutting an incision on the bite and suction is not recommended; icing of the bite is not a good idea, nor is a tourniquet.

Most bites occur on the muzzle in curious horses, and application of a dry absorbent wrap is not possible. Things to consider bringing on such excursions would be:


Saturday, August 09, 2008

APEX clinic at Vermont 100

Patti Stedman

APEX – One Participant’s Perspective

Plan B

Sometimes when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.

Or better yet, if life hands you potatoes, you use the spuds to make yourself some outstanding vodka. And whip up a Cosmopolitan.

With the Vermont 100 one of the few rides on my schedule this year given the all-consuming construction of our house, I was primed to take Ned there for a third-times-a-charm stroll around the course.

But the fates had other ideas in mind: A way-too-hot forecast for heat-challenged half-Trakehner Ned, then a leaking transmission line on the hauling vehicle, topped by a key crew member who ended up on the losing end of a pedestrian/cyclist meeting with two broken wrists – all pointed to opting out of the ride.

Enter Plan B … I was reminded of the APEX Clinic happening the Tuesday through Thursday before the ride, and just around the corner from camp by Cecily Westervelt, a fellow member of the active New 100 Miler yahoo email list.

In a moment of rare spontaneity, I headed to a client meeting on Tuesday, then just kept driving northeast to Vermont.

What To Expect

A quick glance at the APEX website ( revealed clinicians I knew by name and reputation, if not personally: Stagg Newman, Kerry Ridgway, Ann Stuart, John Crandell III, Doug Lietzke, Jeff Pauley.

Would this clinic be over my head? (I consider myself to be a 100-miler newbie, with only 5 completions under my belt and less than a decade of endurance competition to my credit.)

Would it be geared toward international competition? (FEI level riding isn’t my cup of tea.)

Would it be too basic? (After all, I am not exactly new to the sport.)

Would I find out that the little success I’d already had was pure fluke and that I was a living breathing role model of What Not To Do? (Uh oh.)

Be Welcome, Come Learn, Share Ideas and Resources

From a speedy response to my last-minute “Can I come?” to the warm welcome offered by Gene Limlaw, the local rider who organized the clinic (hosted by the Rojek’s Smoke Rise Farm), to the hot coffee waiting in the Carriage House (which served as our lecture hall), to the little welcome bag of goodies we received from Slypner’s Gear, I immediately felt right at home.

Gene and Cecily filled me in on the previous evening’s goings-on since I had been absent. Conformation and shoeing analysis of less than perfect, real life with each clinician offering their perspective, a goal-setting discussion, and an overall theme of how to make your horse the best, most enduring it could be.

As the morning progressed and Ann Stuart, DVM, presented a lecture and video synopses about Recognizing Lameness, it became obvious to me that this clinic was all about learning, and sharing ideas, and enhancing a sense of community.

Participants and “experts” alike laughed over their wrong guesses about which leg was lame, which was primary versus secondary, what might be compensatory. Many of us were just relieved that we could see the horse was lame, and that yes, it was Grade 3 by AAEP criteria which would mean you were done for that day in an AERC ride.

Over and over, the “experts” talked about how they deferred to others, how they realized they didn’t know everything, how they’d learned through (often embarrassing) mistakes, how a specific program (even their own) -- be it electrolyting, conditioning, post-ride leg care, shoeing – wasn’t the be-all or end-all, it was just what worked for them.

On to Jeff Pauley, a SE Region Master Farrier whose wife, Leigh Ann, competes successfully in 100-mile rides. Jeff presented a multitude of shoeing set-up suggestions for various types of rides – concussive, sandy, rocky, slippery terrain. Again, he emphasized taking advantage of the network of farriers shoeing endurance horses around the country – make phone calls, drop emails, ask some questions about what shoeing set up might make sense for a particular ride – cultivate and use your resources was his primary message.

In a light-hearted moment, Jeff spoke about the best time to approach your farrier about new ideas – somehow, it seems that some horse owners like to have these chats while the farrier is bent over in concentration, sweating over a hoof, 99% done with the trim.

A better idea might be to call ahead and ask your farrier to schedule a little extra time for the beginning of the shoeing appointment to watch the horse go, chat about the shoeing set up for your next ride, and bounce some ideas off each other. Jeff also discussed the upcoming Shoeing for Endurance clinics being hosted by Kentucky School of Horseshoeing (see the APEX website for more details).

Ann and Jeff agreed that farriers and vets are getting better and better about working together on sport horse foot and leg care. They pointed to the upcoming AAEP (American Association of Equine Practitioners) Convention ( in December, 2008, where a full day will be dedicated to the farrier/veterinarian partnership.

The treadmill demonstration was impressive, and I am so looking forward to making my Christmas Wish List for Santa, as one of these is right near the top. What a tool!

Phoenix, a Decade Team horse ridden by Dinah Rojek, cheerfully went through his paces on the treadmill, and participants were able to pick up dozens of things – the foot flight of the horse, the way the horse landed (heel first? lateral? medial?), how the heart rate responded to changes in gait at the same speed (Phoenix is an efficient canterer), and just how critically important actually moving through space is to the thermoregulation of the horse (without the fan running, Phoenix overheated rather quickly).

The good news is that those of us not on Santa’s Good Child List can reap many of the advantages of the treadmill in a low-tech way. There are ways of getting videotape of a the foot flight of a horse in motion, some better suited for the risk-tolerant than others, all requiring a bit of patience and planning and a steady hand.

John Crandell spent some time, both at the treadmill and in the classroom, talking about how successful endurance horses tend to be narrow, thus able to more efficiently move their body mass through air. As John emphasized, these were the horses that could move with economy; these were the survivors in nature. For endurance, however, these horses present a shoeing challenge because of their relatively narrow path of hoof travel, and the close tolerances for perfect balance over long and challenging distances.

Jeff and John, both farriers, agreed that farriers do not create balance issues, they sometimes just don’t catch them soon enough, particularly if riders fail to communicate about small changes the may or may not notice.

Kerry Ridgway, DVM, moved us back to the internal function of the endurance horse, with an enlightening and sobering look at the impact of ulcers, and the management and feeding and medical remedies available, both at home and in competition, as allowed by the new AERC drug rules.

Kerry discussed his upcoming study with Frank Andrews, DVM, regarding acupuncture as both a diagnostic and treatment tool. This is a topic endurance riders should look forward to hearing more about! While it is clear that while ulcers are not a new problem, the research about them is evolving, as is the approach to addressing them.

During the breaks, participants chatted with the clinicians, picking their brains, seeking ideas, coming up with possible solutions to specific problems. This was the rubber meeting the road.

Jim Masterson ( demonstrated an integrated method of massage for horses, using Finch, one of Smoke Rise Farm’s horses, as a subject. The great thing about this method is that it is intended to be one that horse handlers can perform themselves. Finch is a stoic sort, but we all watched in fascination as Jim’s work, even with the lightest of pressure, elicited responses from Finch – twitching of his lips, blinking, changes in breath, snorting, shifting of weight or fidgeting, to repeated and enthusiastic yawning – that showed release of tension.

An additional handful of horses were brought in for hands-on practice, each with different tight spots and personalities, and one of the many messages brought home, as in so many situations with horses, is that less is more. When a horse would resist, many of us would push or pull through, rather than lightening our touch and guiding the horse along. The light touch worked much better!

At the end of a long day Kerry Ridgway gave a saddle fitting demonstration, using a systematic approach ( to check the saddle, the horse, and the fit of the saddle to the horse, to include the placement and rigging of the girth or cinch. Kerry gave us his opinions and anecdotal stories about specific brands and types of saddles but the overall theme of that discussion was, as it is so many times with endurance riding I’ve learned, “Whatever Works!”

Day Three – As Joan Rivers would say, “Can We Talk?”

The third day of the clinic came too soon, culminating the previous days’ learning, with round-robin small team work with each of the following – John Crandell, Stagg Newman and Doug Lietzke. Doug gave us a lecture about positive imagery and using sports psychology tools to excel in our sport. Fascinating, and applicable in a very practical sense.

We shared stories, ideas and techniques. We laughed, we confessed our inadequacies and challenges and strengths, as well as those of our horses. I won’t share the inadequacies, other than to say that even the legends are human (or equine) in their imperfection. Being less than a model of perfection, myself, and having a herd of beasts for whom I can point out every flaw and shortcoming, this is considerable comfort.

Something I scribbled in large letters in my notes -- “There are NO formulas!” Conditioning, electrolyting, post-leg care, whether a young horse was ready for his first CTR, 50, 100 or ready to race – each participant there, including and with emphasis on the “experts,” had their own opinions, experiences, ideas, and strategies.

And in the end, one of the predominant messages was summed up in a presentation by John about a “Virtual Stable”, in which the endurance community in the U.S. can work together, pool resources, and share in one another’s successes and learning experiences.

Since so many of us have only one or two horses, why not set up a network with so many others like ourselves, so that we can learn and share and commiserate and set community goals so that we can belong, virtually, to a much bigger stable? It will make the highs higher, the lows a little less traumatic, and celebrate our collective successes.

The creation of a “virtual stable”, in a nutshell, is the message behind APEX.


Friday, August 08, 2008

Shoulda been a cowgirl - More

By Wendy Lautner assistant editor Wendy Lautner had the chance to catch up with the busy Phyllis Keller, vice president of the Truckee-Donner horsemen/women this week. In between putting on the Truckee Championship Rodeo this week and preparing for a 100-mile horseback ride in Santa Cruz on Aug. 16 she offers up a little advice for folks wanting to get on the trails in the Tahoe area. Check out what she had to say below. Tell me a little bit about your experience riding horses?
Phyllis: I started riding when I was in fifth grade, in Montana. My father was in the Air Force and we were stationed in Great Falls. I needless to say was horse bit and developed friendships with other kids who had horses. It was ride by the seat of your pants in those days.

My father retired which brought us to California. I had always wanted to ride over fences and after graduation from high school that’s what I got involved in. I purchased my first horse and got started. I rode for a few years, the bigger fences the better. I have wonderful memories of those years.


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

How to know if your horse has problem hooves?


By Chrisann Ware
Equine Myofunctional Therapist, UHHGM
& Co-ordinator Equethy Barefoot Workshops (Aust.)

As an Equine Myofunctional Therapist dealing daily with equine musculo-skeletal problems and through Equethy workshops (who have now delivered hundreds of workshops all over Australia in the past seven years), I have had the pleasure to meet many horse owners who turned to barefoot rehabilitation.

he comment I hear all the time after they see the dramatic changes that occur both in hooves and bodies is “I wish I had known how to spot hoof problems earlier.... I could have helped my horse years ago instead of wasting all that time while he was getting steadily worse......I feel like such an idiot!"

I tell them "don't" because you are not alone. I was just the same at one time until I learned a little hoof anatomy.

Many horse owners know instinctively that their horses are “not quite right. They ask their farrier who says “well he doesn’t have great feet but just keep him shod and he will be OK.”

...More at Equethy.Com"

Monday, August 04, 2008

NoHands Bridge

Original Article

Ben Furtado/Auburn Journal

Gordon Ainsleigh stands below Mountain Quarries Railroad Bridge ? also known as No Hands Bridge. The first man to complete the Western States Endurance Run, Ainsleigh sees No Hands Bridge as a ?bridge to the promised land.?

The Mountain Quarries Railroad Bridge once connected Auburn with the vast resources of the American River Canyon. In modern times the structure spanning the American River serves as a beacon for weary equestrians and endurance runners.

The landmark commonly referred to as “No Hands Bridge” connects the rugged Western States Trail with the final climb to Auburn, leading runners from the wilderness to civilization.

“No Hands is our bridge to the past and to our future,” said Gordon Ainsleigh, who was the first man to run the Western States Trail from Truckee, which led to the founding of the Western States Endurance Run two years later. “For those of us in the Auburn area who have sweated so much, breathed so much and lived so much of the best of our lives on that trail through the wilderness to Tahoe that we usually access only by No Hands, it’s like a bridge to the promised land.”

The bridge was erected in 1912 by the Pacific Portland Cement Company to connect its limestone quarry to the Southern Pacific main line in Auburn. At the time of its construction, the bridge was the largest concrete arch bridge in the world. More than 800 men worked on the construction of the bridge, which cost $300,000 to build.

When the railroad ties were removed in the 1940s, the bridge was relegated to primarily serving adventurous equestrians like Wendell Robie. The Auburn businessman founded the Western States Endurance Ride in 1955. He was also the driving force behind the creation of the Western States Endurance Run more than 20 years later.

The Mountain Quarries Railroad Bridge’s unique design has survived numerous floods while other bridges in the area failed. In 1964, the Hell Hole Dam gave way and the ensuing flood took out two bridges up-river. The cement structure was pressed into service, providing the link between Placer and El Dorado counties while the Highway 49 Bridge was being rebuilt.

The “Valentine’s Day” flood of 1986 knocked out two bridges to the west while the Mountain Quarries Bridge held firm.

The nickname “No Hands Bridge” came about prior to the installation of handrails along the bridge in 1984. While most equestrians would dismount to cross the guardrail-less bridge, veteran rider Ina Robinson would drop her reins and cross with no hands, leading to the catchy nickname.

The bridge’s rich history is now a major part of the endurance community. The bridge is the last major monument before runners reach the Placer High track and the finish of the Western States Endurance Run. The bridge has witnessed some major drama in the Tevis Cup. In 2007, Jeremy Reynolds passed John Crandell between No Hands and the finish line in Auburn to win.

The bridge stands less than four miles from the Western States finish line, though the final climb out of the canyon has claimed many a runner.

No Hands Bridge was closed temporarily in 1995 and ’96 when it was discovered the footings on the mid-river abutment were failing. However the bridge was opened temporarily for both Western States and Tevis Cup.

Congressman John Doolittle, R-Roseville, was able to appropriate $700,000 for the repairs on the bridge, which were completed in ’96.

Auburn’s Hal Hall helped lead a major effort to have the Mountain Quarries Bridge listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The bridge has been a huge part of Hall’s life as one of endurance riding’s most decorated competitors.

Ainsleigh couldn’t picture life without No Hands Bridge, the gateway to a land that remains the wild west.

“The trail basically follows the drainage of the middle fork and it’s our connection to that,” Ainsleigh said. “It’s like so much of our lives are connected to this trail and this bridge is kind of sacred ground.”

The Journal’s Todd Mordhorst can be reached at or comment at


Fast Facts:

Mountain Quarries Railroad Bridge
Commonly referred to as No Hands Bridge after being dubbed such by endurance rider Ina Robinson in the early 1980s, who would drop her reins and ride across the then guardrail-less bridge with no hands.

Built by John B. Leonard and completed on March 23, 1912.

The bridge is 15 feet wide, 482 feet long and 70 feet high at average water flow.
The U.S. Department of the Interior placed the bridge on the National Register of Historical Places in 2004.

Gordon Ainsleigh
The chiropractor from Meadow Vista was the first man to run the Western States Trail from Truckee to Auburn – 100 miles – in 1974.

The Western States Endurance Run was founded two years later and Ainsleigh has finished the run 22 times in 30 hours or less.

Ainsleigh now serves on the Auburn Recreation District’s board of directors.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The CRI: Appropriate and InAppropriate Use - Dr. Kerry Ridgeway DVM

Both veterinarians and competitors would like to have a parameter that is 100% objective and would tell us whether a horse is fit to continue. Early in this sport that parameter was thought to be the heart rate. Every- one, veterinarians included, tried to establish a magic number. The early “number” was 72 beats per minute. To many competitors this meant that a heart rate of 72 was okay but a heart rate of 73 was not. Most competi- tors believed that even if other parameters were poor, because the pulse was 72 or less the horse should have no problems continuing. Even the veterinarians tend- ed to fall into this trap. Though it doesn’t take much thought to recognize the patent fallacies of this con- cept, it still woos us we just replace the 72 with lower pulse numbers.

This mystique has, unfortunately, been transferred to use of the Cardiac Recovery Index as providing the “magic number,” and the “objective and, incontrovert- ible piece of data.” Many see it as an “either you pass it or you don’t pass it” mentality.

Complete Article (PDF)

Dead birds spark concern at Hong Kong equestrian centre - Full Article

July 29, 2008

The discovery of two dead birds at the Olympic equestrian venue has raised the ugly spectre of bird flu as the games build-up continues.

It is understood the birds have been taken for testing by Hong Kong's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

Bird flu is not known to affect horses but it can jump to people. Millions of birds have been culled across Asia in recent years as authorities move to minimise the risk of the disease jumping to people.

Hong Kong's worst outbreak of bird flu was in 1997, when six people died.

The Olympic equestrian events are being held in Hong Kong because of equine disease concerns around mainland China and quarantine issues...


A Mongolian festival to sing about - Full Article

By Rebecca Byerly

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (CNN) — Standing slightly more than 4 feet tall, 9-year-old Tuguldur proudly stated the greatest challenge he faced in a horse race across the Mongolian plains in the country’s annual Naadam Festival was serenading his horse.

Young wrestlers cheer on teammates during the opening round at the Naadam Festival.

“The hardest part of the race was singing to my horse while riding,” said Tuguldur, wiping perspiration from the July sun off his face.

The long-distance horse race is exclusively for children, ranging in ages from 6 to 12. Riding up to 30 kilometers (19 miles), these children maneuver their galloping steeds on a thin saddle pad that often does not have stirrups.

“Mongolians believe they can communicate with their horses through singing, and their horse will go faster,” said Tamir, a senior at Mongolian University. “This is why the kids must keep singing during the race...”


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Endurance Granny's blog: Cybil Syndrome and The Lighter Side of Endurance

Endurance Granny's Blog
Saturday, July 6, 208

A wonderful endurance (and past CTR National Championship rider) Christine Eickleberry sent me by mail this week "The Lighter Side of Endurance Riding" by Angie McGhee. If you have never read must find a copy. She comes up with some really humorous stuff, and it reads as the HOW NOT TO of endurance, how things went wrong, and how things are just down right funny. I've not gotten through the entire book yet, have been savoring it bit by bit prior to sleep each night.

I'm wondering if Angie McGhee has written yet on "Cybil Syndrome". I found it to be the most terrifying aspect of those first few endurance can affect the rider, it can affect the horse, and may God bless and keep you safe if both horse and rider get it. Rider symptoms: The rider will present as a calm sane individual at the pre-ride check in. Having conditioned the horse for long slow distance, having prechecked gear, worked out feed regimines and taken a vow of "to finish is too win." There are virtually no pre-ride symptoms other than racing thoughts, and perhaps an increase in the rider's heart rate. After all this is a first endurance ride, and the rider plans to just take it easy, enjoy the trail, the woods, and get a completion. Now I've contemplated if over night ride managment sneaks into your camp and sprinkles some kind of "Cybil Dust" in your coffee mug....I don't know for sure how it happens, I just know it does happen. Ride day ---- the newbie rider presents on her pretty and nicely conditioned for LSD horse. The timer sends you out, and suddenly the Newbie becomes Cybil. Look at all those horses and they are all moving out in front...oh my God I can't finish last, this is my first race (did she say race?), oh the shame of it! The dual personality emerges and out pops full blown Cybil Syndrome, the crazed newbie, trying to out run the hot shoes, and doing it for at least a mile or two.

The other side of the coin is a fairly put together new rider, who has not caught the syndrome (or ride management thought they were going to be caught and just spread the Cybil dust around camp....some drifted onto the horse's hay). The horse and rider team present sanely, and head out on the trail, they look spectacular! Then a horse passes the team and Cybil Syndrome strikes the horse. The equine who could have given pony rides at the fair to tiny children suddenly gets the "Look of Eagles", and muscles start popping up and the rider feels the horse actually gathering up under the saddle, then they are off!!! All the while the rider is trying to do all those nice things she read about in the books she bought on endurance riding. The horse is galloping on after the pack, while the rider is hanging on for dear life ( she never practiced riding at speed as she had no plan or intention of doing so), grabbing for the horn on the saddle that doesn't have one because they are now using an endurance saddle. You hear screams of something like "whoa Black Betty!!!" as the horse races down the trail with the pack.

Cybil Syndrome can also happen at the vet check. If the rider is afflicted their unsuspecting crew (spouse) will greet their sweet wife and ask how they can help. All normalcy ends at that point as Cybil has arrived. She's hot, she's tired, and she's in back of the pack. How could that HAPPEN? He says, " honey, I thought you just wanted to finish"? Where she then glares at him and ponders the various methods of poisoning, and collecting on the insurance for a "faster horse." The husband turns pale and gazes into the woods wondering if she was abducted by aliens and who is this woman"? If only the horse is afflicted, the horse will come bounding into the vet check, with eyes glittering, dancing around like something from "The Black Stallion Returns", the vet becomes dizzy spinning the circle with his stethescope trying to get a pulse. He never gets one, but in fear of his life figures a horse with that much energy is good to go, but he does have some concerns about the rider who is standing bent over, long strands of mane hair entangled in her fingers, hands on knees, face frozen in fear...

When all is said and done the pair will finish pretty near last, just like they would have if all things had gone well and pair had not been afflicted. That is the irony of Cybil Syndrome.